(PIKESVILLE, MD) – With intense security protocols in place, two dozen data entry personnel from a state public safety department have been enlisted to assist Maryland State Police with the entry of information from additional firearm purchase applications that have been received in the last two weeks at the rate of about 1,000 per day.
Beginning Friday, September 20, 2013, 24 data entry employees from the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) have assisted the State Police Licensing Division with the input of applicant information from another 10,000 firearm purchase applications that have been received in the last two weeks. This data entry enables law enforcement personnel from the Maryland State Police (MSP) and the assisting state law enforcement agencies to begin the required background investigations of each purchase applicant sooner. No employees from any other state agency will be involved with the additional data entry assistance. The DPSCS employees will not be involved in investigation of any firearms application.
Security protocols are in place to limit the access of DPSCS employees to the State Police database. They include the following:
-The input screen for the database is on an internal MSP network, meaning the Internet will not be used;
-Access to the internal network is encrypted;
-A Secure Socket Layer (SSL) is being used to encrypt data to and from the server and the end user’s computer for both DPSCS and MSP employees;
-Each individual DPSCS employee has been assigned a unique log-in and password;
-Every action a user makes on the network will be recorded and all activity will be monitored;
-IP addresses provided by DPSCS are filtered and restricted in range to the smallest amount needed to complete this task;
-With the exception of the supervisor overseeing the work, DPSCS employees will only be able to enter data from new applications and will be unable to view or access any other records in the database;
-Access to firearm application records will be restricted to only the information needed to enter the record into the database;
-Upon their employment, all DPSCS employees agreed not to disclose confidential information acquired by reason of his or her public position;
-In addition to this agreement and further instructions at the commencement of the assignment regarding the confidentiality of the
information, all assisting DPSCS employees will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement specific to this detail;
-No DPSCS employee will be accessing criminal background databases or conducting any aspect of a firearm purchase application background
In a separate program, originally announced on September 12, 2013, additional assistance to conduct background investigations continues to be provided to the Maryland State Police by 20 sworn state law enforcement officers from the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, the Natural Resources Police, the Maryland Transit Administration Police and the Maryland Capital Police. Those officers were trained last week and have begun to assist with background investigations. They will be working in a Maryland State Police facility, using Maryland State Police computer systems and will work under the direct supervision of Maryland State Police Licensing Division personnel. No firearms application data is being released to, or shared with, their employing agencies.
The Maryland State Police Licensing Division continues to diligently address the unprecedented increase in regulated firearm purchase applications received this year. As of September 20th, 102,001 purchase applications had been received. Of those, 52,256 had been processed.
MSP is committed to making this an open and transparent process and will, as it has done in the past, notify the public of any significant changes in the processing of firearms applications.
Maryland State Police